Yes, there are direct flights operated by British Airways and Air Algerie. The Air Algerie flight is operated from London Heathrow Airport and the British Airways flight is managed from London Gatwick Airport. The direct flight to Algiers has flight duration of only 3 hours.
There are two great seasons to come to Algiers. The first season lasts from April to June and the second is from September to October. Missing the sweltering sun in July is a good idea when visiting Algiers. The temperature during these two seasons hovers between 20°C to 25°C. The sun is toasty and you can feel its golden rays absorbing into your bones. There is only a limited chance of rain during these periods as well, which is why Algiers is loved by tourists visiting the city during these time spans.
The cheapest time to visit Algiers is by visiting the city at the peak of the rainy season. It does not rain that much in the city, but the overcast skies repel the tourists that usually line its beaches in search of the sun. The rainy season peaks in February and November, which also coincides with the lowest point on the graph depicting the presence of foreign tourists in the city. With most of the tourists gone to find warmer climates, the airfares and accommodation costs decline to be more competitive. Coming to Algiers in these two months could save you from going bankrupt at the end of your vacation.
Houari Boumediene Airport (ALG) serves the city of Algiers. The airport has many names; some call it Algiers Airport while others, who are avid fans of history, still call it the Maison Blanche Airport. The airport is only 17 kilometres away from the ‘Shrine of the Martyrs’, which resides at the city centre. Algiers Airport handled 7.5 million passengers in 2017.
A British passport holder is required to obtain a visa from the Algerian Consulate in London. The Consulate might take up to 4 weeks to process the visa application, so the traveller needs to plan ahead. Upon receiving the visa, please carefully check your name and other details on the visa sticker.
The city of Algiers is known as the “White City”. This is because most of the buildings in the city are painted white and as you approach Algiers from the sea, the silver of the city glows over the azure waters. Algiers was once ruled by Berber pirates, then the Ottoman Sultan and then finally by the French. In 1962, Algeria gained independence. The city’s architecture is a beautiful combination of the Islamic and European building styles, which has yielded into an artistic sense of its own Algerian identity.
- The Hamma Botanical Gardens or “Jardin d'Essai du Hamma” is a garden in Central Algiers. The garden was first created by the French Governor of the city in 1832. Initially, the garden’s area was not more than 5 hectares but over the years it grew to its current size of 58 hectares. The Botanical Garden is a haven for many plants and animals. It also serves as a nursery for plants that need to be planted elsewhere in the city. The garden was also used to grow vegetables and fruits for the community. The lake and fountains in the garden make it a little piece of paradise.
- Overlooking the Botanical Gardens is the Martyrs’ Memorial. The landmark is 94 metres high and signifies the struggle of the Algerian War of Independence. The structure is a tripod of three giant palm leaves that curve up and outwards at the when they meet at the top. At the apex is the hearth of the ‘Eternal Flame’ that glows with the undying spirit of the Algerian people. The monument contains an amphitheatre, a crypt that houses the heroes of Algeria and the National Museum of El Mujahid. The futuristic architecture attracts a lot of tourists to the building and to the underground museum.
- The Notre Dame d'Afrique is a Basilica on the northwestern end of the Bay of Algiers. The architecture of the building is Byzantine in origin but also has delicate Islamic traits. The church was formally inaugurated in 1872 and since then has been opening its doors for worshippers and tourists alike. The Basilica is a symbol of religious tolerance and interfaith harmony in Algiers. The apse of the church has an inscription that says, “Our Lady of Africa, pray for us and for all the Muslims”.
The European Cultural Festival is held in May. Groups of artists from a dozen countries converge in Algiers to perform traditional rhythms, flamenco and jazz music. At the Pan-African Cultural Festival held in July, various performances, displays and events are staged in Algiers. This event was first staged in 1969. It attracts some 8,000 artists from the worlds of music, art, literature and the theatre in the African Union. Algerian Independence Day is held on the 5th of July. Apart from these festivals, religious celebrations like the Eid ul Adha and Eid ul Fitr are also celebrated.
It is fairly easy to travel around in Algiers. Developing Public Transportation has been a cornerstone policy of many successive governments in Algiers. Algiers has a metro system that facilitates in traversing the city greatly. Currently, a single line runs along the coast and connects 10 stations. Taxis are also cheaply available in Algiers. Let the driver know where you are headed beforehand and negotiate on the price. The bus network is also efficient and vast. Bus tickets are purchased by a conductor who is often seen holding a bundle of tickets. Bus tickets usually cost 20 dinars each.
There are many five star hotels in Algiers, mostly inspired by the French architecture and design, with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
- Sofitel Algiers Hamma Garden
- Hotel El-Djazair Ex-Saint George
- El Aurassi Hotel
- Mercure Alger Aeroport
- Sheraton Club des Pins Resort